Luke Belt...

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ID10T

Well-Known Member
Is it a costume or a prop?

I went with prop.

I was in the leather store and found a “buckle blank” (two sizes, actually) and the larger one lends itself to conversion into a “Luke” belt. Probably worn by others, and good for a rebel fleet trooper as well, so it’ll get some use. Or I’ll sell it off.

First, I hack sawed the corners off:
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Then I buffed down the cuts to my guide lines with the Beartex wheel on the bench grinder. These are great if you work with metal. They polish and remove metal slowly in the same step. I also ran around the perimeter to clean up the sharp edges and also used it to “ease” the corners with a slight radius.
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Next I needed to deal with the crude grind marks from weld cleanup. I tried scotchbrite at first but that wasn’t doing it.

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Then I went to 60 grit to try and even up the surface, but that’s wasn’t working either. This thing is zinc plated after welding, so I needed to get the zinc off before it would even out. So I bead blasted it to remove the zinc.
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Now I can scotchbrite to get the scratch pattern, after one of many acetone washes.
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Still not perfect but that’s all my time for today. Washed it again with acetone and gave it a quick coat of clear matte. I’ll get back to it tomorrow.
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I’ll grab some 2” leather and should be able to finish by the end of the week. I’m going to do this one “British tan” since even the light brown comes out dark brown.
 

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MastahBlastah

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Very nice! Is this the Tandy leather 2" belt blank? Looks like it. I believe that's the same one believed to have been used on Luke's ANH belt, too. I'll be building one of those myself soon, and the finish on the buckle has been bugging me as well, but you made it look great! I don't have a bead blaster but I'll do what I can with some sanding. Thanks for the inspiration
 

ID10T

Well-Known Member
Thanks!

Yes it’s the Tandy blank. The larger one. I got the smaller one too but I may return it.

If you can’t blast the zinc off, you could sand it the whole way. I think 400 or 600 wet, with a guide box, could work well. Just get it dried and cleared fast, before it flash rusts. The issue with mine is they ground in a bit deep to “flush” the welds. I may weather it and incorporate those marks when I do.

If you have access to acid, you could burn the zinc off pretty easily. CLR might even do it overnight but I’m not sure.
 

RobertMuldoon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks!

Yes it’s the Tandy blank. The larger one. I got the smaller one too but I may return it.

If you can’t blast the zinc off, you could sand it the whole way. I think 400 or 600 wet, with a guide box, could work well. Just get it dried and cleared fast, before it flash rusts. The issue with mine is they ground in a bit deep to “flush” the welds. I may weather it and incorporate those marks when I do.

If you have access to acid, you could burn the zinc off pretty easily. CLR might even do it overnight but I’m not sure.
You can remove zinc with vinegar, but it takes some time and repeated scrubbing/brushing. I've also used a blowtorch to heat up bolts and burn off the galvalnisation in the past, which is very fast but do that outside/somewhere well ventilated though!
 

ID10T

Well-Known Member
Here’s the dry buckle. I don’t like this clear because it clouds the finish. But I gave it a buff with the scotchbrite and called it done.

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then I got the leather ready. Cleaned it and wet firmed the buckle attachment. I used the hole they hung it at the store on the back side and punched one tight for the Chicago screw. Once dry, I sanded the edges, rounded the end at the buckle (so the corners don’t peek out) and dyed it. I used British Tan and it took half the bottle!

Im curious to see what shade I end up with in the morning, but I think it came out good for $35.00 and some time.

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these two: one is set to expose the buckle properly (leather looks dark) and the other exposed the leather (buckle looks too bright). Between the two, you get the idea.
 

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ID10T

Well-Known Member
Well, it turned out that the area I wet to form didn’t take the dye the same as the rest.

so, I wet it again, and cut off the end. The second (top) hole I made is now the back hole, and I made a new front hole. Good thing I didn’t punch the hole to set the length with the buckle pin.

I think it’s done now. (Still no buckle pin hole).
 

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